Real-time Technology Glossary

An ever-growing repository of technical terms around real-time technology and beyond.

What is a Navigation API?

Navigation APIs are used to manage the minutia of navigation after departure and destination locations have been identified, and a route has been plotted (via a Directions API). A navigation system relies heavily on event analytics and road condition analytics to optimize navigation to a destination, particularly for connected car computer systems. For instance, a Navigation API takes factors like fuel consumption and road closures into account, and uses turn-by-turn navigation to realize the most efficient route to save time and money; this is usually the greenest route.

A Navigation API is one programmatic interface in a suite of geolocation API and mapping building blocks that enables software developers to retrieve the data they need to create routing applications, from identifying locations and displaying maps, to providing directions and customizing journeys.


Navigation API Use Cases

  • GPS Navigation Software: Apps like Waze use Navigation APIs to assist drivers to arrive at their destinations by the quickest, safest route. Smart navigation takes numerous travelling factors into account, e.g. weather and road conditions, road closures and obstacles, traffic-aware routing, waypoints, turn-by-turn directions, desired arrival time, annoyances like speed cameras, the language used for voice directions, a vehicle’s profile, electric vehicle specifications (e.g. battery range calculations) and map corrections en-route. Intelligent navigation software improves a driver’s journey experience, enhances driving safety and, ultimately, creates brand loyalty.
  • Retail Guidance: Used in conjunction with other location-based services, Navigation APIs can channel customers to stores and notify them about optimal shopping times, e.g. when there are no queues, promotions at local outlets or the best route to avoid disturbances on the major thoroughfares. Navigation applications give customers personalized guided shopping tours either virtually or in-store on their mobile device.
  • Fleet Management: A Navigation API can create a location grid for transportation companies, plotting the most efficient trips for truck drivers and traveling salespeople, improving customer service and support. For suppliers, end-to-end start-point and end-point visibility reduces the risk of missed pickups and deliveries and ensures accurate trip planning for the fleet as a whole.

Examples of Navigation APIs

Popular software in the navigation ecosystem include Mapbox, HERE, QT, Sygic, YOURS and Google.

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